Reading room hours
Monday through Friday
8:45am - 4:45pm
9am - noon and
1 - 4:30 pm
On Saturdays, the reading room cannot page vault materials. If you will need vault materials on a Saturday, please submit the request in your reader account before Friday at 3pm.
Closed on Sundays and federal holidays
Using the reading room
In order to use the reading room, you must first apply to become a reader.
Please wear your Folger-issued ID identifying you as a researcher at all times while in the Library. You will also use it to scan in and out of the reading room.
Computers, phones, cameras (all silenced), pencils and notebooks are all welcome in the reading rooms. Clear plastic bags are available in the cloakroom and registration desk for the things you wish to bring in with you.
Coats, briefcases, bags, newspapers, outerwear, and purses larger than 5 x 9 x 2 inches (12.5 x 23 x 5 cm) can be stored in our cloakroom which includes lockers for bags. They are not permitted in the reading room nor are pens, markers, food, water, or anything that might be adhesive.
Finding materials at the Folger
The Folger's collections are in two main sections:
Open Stacks (Modern) Books
Modern printed books (published 1831 and later) are arranged by Library of Congress call numbers on open stacks located on Deck B, and will be listed in our online catalog Hamnet.
Once you've found your book, please charge it out at one of the circulation desks. You may charge out as many modern books as you need for use at your desk. We will be happy to hold them aside for you for the length of your visit. You may not remove any material from the Library.
Vault (Rare) Materials
Many of our rare books (pre-1831), manuscripts, art, and special collection materials are discoverable in Hamnet, particularly for books published in England. If you are working with Continental materials, you may also need to consult our card catalogs (yes, we still have them!).
Once you have the call numbers of rare materials you wish to consult, please submit your requests through your reader account, using the links in Hamnet and the Finding Aids database, or with a blank request form created from within your reader account. While you may work with a maximum of six items at a time, you may request as many items as you need.
Retrieval time for rare materials is usually 30–60 minutes, so please plan accordingly.
Guidelines for using Folger materials
Before beginning your research, please review the following information in Folgerpedia:
Guidelines for Using the Collections
General information about use of the reading room.
Handling Vault Material
Ensuring that you handle our vault materials safely will help us ensure that they are available for readers in the future.
Cameras are allowed (and even encouraged!), but make sure you know the dos and don'ts of taking pictures of our collection materials.